US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a press conference following meetings at the US State Department in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2012, with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle . AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images) R:\Merlin\Getty_Photos\508315469.jpg
Updated: June 6, 2013 6:53AM
It was just a few weeks ago in a shuttered classroom in a Chicago suburb that the wheels of the “Draft Hillary” movement quietly turned.
Girls ranging in age from 7 to 12 were met by a film crew. They had been hired to do an online commercial called “Madam President” funded by Emily’s List, the pro-woman candidate, pro-choice political powerhouse.
It was no ordinary shoot.
“On the day of the shoot, it was interesting to see the moms stick around,” said Ann Liston, founding partner of Adelstein Liston, the Chicago consulting firm that produced the ad.
The girls, already experienced actors accustomed to casting calls, were disciplined and professional but not necessarily politically engaged.
They were our daughters. Black, white and brown. Serious, funny, quirky and composed.
The ad is set on a Jan. 20 some day in the future. The girls take turns making acceptance speeches behind a lectern marked “Madam President.”
The 90-second film ends with a back-of-the-head shot of a woman — blond, in a red suit, right hand raised — taking the oath of office.
The moms of these girls were transfixed.
“We don’t usually have parents sit around and watch us work,” said Liston. “Or bring us cupcakes.”
This time was different.
Do we really need to mention that women are power players in American politics with too few elective offices to show for it?
A recent study by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University reports that in presidential elections since 1980, women made up the majority of voters.
The message of “Madam President”?
It’s Hillary’s moment.
Liston absolutely believes that. But she says there are other women who could take up the mantle if Hillary does not. She lists Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Sen. Amy Klobcuhar among the possibilities.
Does Liston have a sense of what Clinton will do?
“Not sure anyone does but Bill,” she replied.
Bill Clinton comes to Chicago this weekend to receive the Lincoln Leadership Prize from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation.
All eyes, however, will be on his wife, the Park Ridge native, who returns home to Illinois with him.
The wind is at her back.
A new poll by Quinnipiac University puts her way ahead of potential primary rivals.
Clinton gets 65 percent of possible Democratic voters. Vice President Joe Biden follows with 13 percent and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gets only 4 percent.
Then there’s talk of a Bill & Hill movie that would hit theaters before the next election.
It’s all “The Way They Were,” remembering their Yale years in the 1970s.
But it’s 2016 that matters, and the question: after losing a brutal 2008 primary to Barack Obama, does Hillary Clinton have one more run in her?
Plenty of people hope so.
As a little girl with pigtails reminds us in the ad, eliciting giggles from the other girls as she invokes America’s past, “Can you imagine? No woman president? They were all boys!”